Mechanicsville, MD – The Budds Creek round of the AMA Pro Motocross Championships is typically a favorite of fans and riders alike. Situated in a valley, the track makes for easy spectating from all angles as well as a strong track with a lot of elevation changes and passing opportunities, under normal conditions.
However, the GEICO Powersports Honda team, along with the rest of the paddock, was faced with something rarely seen in the sport, as a deluge of epic proportions opened up on the riders in the second 250cc moto.
The first moto, however, was mostly dry, and rookie sensation Justin Barcia fought his way up on the first lap from a few spots back to grab fourth place in the moto, and he finished there more or less on his own, never challenged from anyone behind him.
“I’ve been working really hard during the week trying to get my body back in shape, and I had a decent start but passed a lot of guys on the first lap to catch up to fourth, and then I just rode really smart and smooth,” Barcia said. “I didn’t get tired or have any arm-pump or anything like that, so it was a really good race. The three guys up front were really riding good. I need to get more speed and more endurance and I’ll be up there soon enough.”
Aussie Brett Metcalfe, though, went down in the first turn and was forced to fight his way through the pack from the back.
“They dropped the gate before five seconds, which I think is illegal, so I got caught off guard and got a bad jump, got cutoff, and then got bunched up down the straight, then Blake Baggett had his front end tuck and he slowed up and I rammed him in the back,” Metcalfe said. “I went down pretty hard and rung my bell, and my bike was stuck, but then I got going again.”
However, Metcalfe was able to fight his way back up into the points, finishing 18th and gathering up three hard-earned points.
“I worked hard that race and caught back up to get some points,” Metcalfe said. “I didn’t know if I should stay out there, but I thought I should try, and it paid off.”
In the second moto, Metcalfe nearly got the holeshot, but then led the entire race, only to lost the lead on what turned out to be the last lap, as the red flag was thrown, marking the end of the race. Under AMA Rules, if the red flag is thrown after the 25-minute mark, the race is called in that order.
“I had good starts both times, but the second time they dropped it early, but I was ready for it and I just took off,” Metcalfe said. “I didn’t know how close the gap was, I just put my head down and was riding. The bike blubbered through some water a couple of times, but it ran good the whole moto, then halfway through the brakes were basically gone and I made a couple mistakes. One time, I nearly went down in a turn because the rut was full of water and I hit a hole I couldn’t see. I fell, but I kept it running, then I took my goggles off and started getting slower [laughs]. Then Jake came up and went by me, and I tried to do something at the end, but it’s hard when you’re close behind someone with no goggles.”
The strong second moto put Metcalfe sixth overall.
Barcia had a tougher time in the mud, though.
“I’ve been in mud races, but I’ve never seen anything like that before!” Barcia said. “There were rivers going through the track, and you’d be going through a rut and your front end would just dive down into a big hole... It was fun in the beginning, until I lost my goggles...”
After that, though, Barcia was stuck pretty much where he was and finished seventh, which was still good for fourth overall.
Their teammate Blake Wharton had a tough day with falls in both motos knocking him out of points contention both times out.
“The first moto, I got a decent start from the outside and I was battling with those guys and made a mistake and went down,” Wharton said. “I got back up and started pushing back forward, but then I went down again, so it was kind of frustrating for me because I didn’t ride the whole week before because I have a hurt foot. It just was frustrating for me. Then in the mud, I got a pretty good start, and I went to pull a tearoff and it didn’t work and I got whiskey throttle and went into the next turn way too fast and endoed. I should’ve taken my time, but it was bad. It was just a mess. I need to get back to doing what I was doing in the second moto at Unadilla before I endoed and just do that again.”
In the 450cc class, both Kevin Windham and Dan Reardon were back in action, and after qualifying fourth in the 450cc class, Windham had a really tough time in the opening moto. Coming off the couch, he gated decently but got arm-pump and ended up finishing outside the points on the trick Budds Creek track. Windham opted to sit out moto two.
Similarly, Reardon came back from a shoulder injury suffered at High Point, but although he thought it would be ready to go, a first-turn fall in the first moto aggravated the injury and he didn’t finish the race.
From here, the GEICO Powersports Honda team heads to Southwick, Massachusetts, for round 11 of the series at a sand track known as MX338.
Team Sponsors: GEICO Powersports, Honda, Planet Fitness, Unbound Energy, AM/PM, Factory Connection, Fox, Shoei, Gaerne, DVS, Amsoil Lubricants, Cycra Plastics, Dunlop Tires, EK Chains, Filtron Air Filters, Hinson Clutches, Leatt Brace, One Industries, Pro Circuit, Renthal, Shock Doctor, Showa, TAG Sprockets, Vortex Ignitions, VP Fuels, and Works Connection.
Budds Creek 250cc Overall:
1. Jake Weimer Kaw
2. Christophe Pourcel Kaw
3. Ryan Dungey Suz
4. Justin Barcia GEICO Powersports Honda
5. Austin Stroupe Kaw
6. Brett Metcalfe GEICO Powersports Honda
7. Matt Lemoine Yam
8. Ryan Sipes KTM
9. PJ Larsen Kaw
10. Tyla Rattray Kaw